The New Orleans Museum of Art acquires 'The Seated III' by Wangechi Mutu

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The New Orleans Museum of Art acquires 'The Seated III' by Wangechi Mutu
Wangechi Mutu, "The Seated III," 2019, Bronze, 82 7/8 x 37 3/4 x 33 3/4 inches (210.5 x 95.9 x 85.7 cm), Edition of 3 + 1AP, Gift of Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2021.1. Copyright Wangechi Mutu, Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, Photography by Joseph Coscia, Jr., Imaging, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

NEW ORLEANS, LA.- The New Orleans Museum of Art announces the addition of The Seated III, a sculpture by contemporary Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu, to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The 12-acre garden is home to more than 90 sculptures representing the 19th century to the present, and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Seated III is one of four sculptures created by Mutu originally for, and in response to, niches on the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of a commission titled The NewOnes, will free Us. Widely regarded as one of our foremost contemporary sculptors working today, Mutu’s kneeling female figures are inspired, in part, by the global history of female load-bearers, or caryatids, that exist across Greek, African, American, and European art. While caryatids are traditionally depicted as carrying the weight of architectural or decorative forms, often taking the place of a column or pillar, Mutu’s figures are liberated from that weight, allowing them to come into full possession of their own power. The Seated III honors the ways in which women, and particularly Black women, are often culture bearers, standing guard over, and protecting, their cultural history.

“This significant work by Wangechi Mutu takes its place within the garden landscape as yet another point of conversation and contemplation for our visitors,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “While on view at The Met in New York, Mutu’s figures invited visitors to rethink the history of the museum’s collection, the historic tradition of facade architecture and the role of Black women in society. In NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden, The Seated III will have a similarly dynamic relationship to the museum’s architecture, history, and collection.”

Born in 1972 in Nairobi, Kenya, Mutu's work has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Miami Art Museum, Tate Modern in London, Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

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